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New grant expanding music education will benefit hundreds of East Boston students

Guild Second Graders performed the Guild Gators Song during a program at Curtis Guild School. BPS and EdVestors announced at the school on Monday a grant from an anonymous donor that will allow BPS to expand its music education program.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Hundreds of students in East Boston schools will receive expanded music education after an anonymous donor pledged $1.65 million for the cause to Boston Public Schools.

The funding made through EdVestors, a Boston education nonprofit, will help bring in more music education through partnerships with existing music teachers, provide free private music lessons for students, bring more band performance opportunities at festivals, and help schools purchase musical instruments and equipment. The donation also will support guest artist residencies as well as workshops for schools in East Boston.

East Boston schools will receive $400,000 of the grant funding annually over three years, starting this school year. The money will benefit hundreds of students in 11 of the schools in the area. The rest of the funding will go toward the district’s overall Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion initiative, a multi-year effort through a public-private partnership with multiple funders, including EdVestors, to increase arts education throughout BPS.

“This investment in East Boston will change the lives of my students,” Curtis Guild Elementary School Principal Karen McCarthy said in a statement. “Art helps students grow and flourish and express themselves in new and profound ways. I am incredibly grateful for this donation and I cannot wait to see the impact it will have on the children.”


Boston Public Schools Region 1 School Superintendent, Tommy Welch (L) talks with Superintendent Mary Skipper after she announced a grant from an anonymous donor that will allow BPS to expand their music education program. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

EdVestors and BPS have been partners through the BPS Arts Expansion initiative since 2009. The initiative brings together local foundations, the district, arts organizations, higher education institutions, and city leaders to help create more arts opportunities for students, especially when it comes to music.

Nearly 17,000 more students now receive arts education as a result of the partnership, and 64 percent of all students in the district receive arts classes at least twice a week. In total, 94 percent of all BPS students now have access to arts education. The number of art teachers also increased in BPS from 160 to 290 as of last school year.


“The arts is a critical part of education,” BPS Superintendent Mary Skipper said in a statement. “This work takes a village and it warms my heart when members of our community are willing to give back in such a generous way to contribute to the success of Boston Public Schools. When partners invest resources and go beyond words, it provides us with much needed tangible support and complements what we’re doing with our students and takes the impact of our efforts to the next level.”

East Boston was chosen to receive the grant after BPS identified gaps in music education in the area’s schools following an internal review. The district also started to target investments in East Boston through donors associated with the Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion initiative, which includes getting more music teachers and instruments, to ensure every student has access to music instruction, according to a statement.

“Over the last dozen years, Boston has become a national leader in expanding quality arts education to BPS students through increased public and private investment and sustained partnerships,” EdVestors President and CEO Marinell Rousmaniere said in a statement. “This gift and the resulting work will allow us to go deeper and for students to have a richer music education.”

Adria Watson can be reached at adria.watson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @adriarwatson.